Cambridge team develops test that can diagnose Covid-19 in less than 90 minutes | Anglia


New test devices developed by a Cambridge team capable of diagnosing Covid-19 in less than 90 minutes are being used at the Edenbrooke Hospital.

Portable machines, called Samba II, were developed by a Cambridge University spin-off called Diagnostics for the Real World.

10 are currently in use at the Addenbrooke hospital this week, but the researchers said their tests, which have been validated by Public Health England, should be launched in hospitals across the country.

“Our goal has always been to make cutting-edge technology so simple and robust that the Samba machine can be placed literally anywhere and used by anyone with minimal training. “

– Helen Lee, Executive Director of Diagnostics for the Real World

It comes as West Suffolk Secretary of Health and MP Matt Hancock announced that the government’s goal is to test until 100,000 people a day at the end of the month, pointing out that ” Our ultimate goal is that anyone who needs a test can have one.

“The new national effort for testing will ensure that we can get tests for everyone who needs them and I am delighted that the pharmaceutical industry is taking up this challenge, putting unprecedented resources in testing.,’ he said.

Researchers say Samba can provide a diagnosis in less than 90 minutes while current tests can take 24 hours or more.

Once the nasal and throat swabs have been taken from the patients, the samples will be loaded into the machines, which look for tiny traces of genetic material belonging to the coronavirus.

They claim that tests in 102 patient samples showed 98.7% sensitivity (ability to correctly identify positive cases) and 100% specificity (ability to correctly identify negative cases) compared to the current NHS test.

“Screening health care workers could help reduce the risk of infection in the health facilities themselves, which in turn could help national control efforts. It will also reduce the number of staff who self-isolate to detect symptoms, as we could use the test to determine who is actually infected. At present, the lack of tests is causing serious personnel shortages nationwide. “

– Professor Ravi Gupta of the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease

The machines will be used by healthcare professionals as well as other patients suspected of having Covid-19 across the country.

These are the first patients from Addenbrooke and Royal Papworth hospitals enrolled in a national trial to find treatments for Covid-19.

Doctors describe the trial as “our best chance” to fight the virus with medication.

“What we really want to offer our patients is the confidence that we have something that we know is effective and not something that we should trust on reports that have not been validated in clinical trials. “

– Dr. Martin Knolle, Adddenbrooke Hospital

Dr. Mark Toshner is a university lecturer and consultant at the Royal Papworth.

His brother is also a doctor and is currently recovering from the virus after contracting it on the front line in London.

Dr. Toshner says the virus will impact us all in one way or another – and this has made researchers at the University of Cambridge more determined.

“Technically, the university was closed, but in fact almost all the researchers I know are working on Covid. Some of them do it from a distance, some come in. There’s a whole campus pointing at it. “

– Dr. Mark Toshner, University of Cambridge


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